With 231 days to go until the opening ceremony of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, the world is moving today as athletes of all ages, genders and abilities celebrate Olympic Day, first introduced in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games on June 23, 1894, at the Sorbonne in Paris.
With that Olympic spirit in mind, the annual winter Dew Tour (returning to Breckenridge, Colorado, December 14-17 for the 10th year) will now serve as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Olympic qualifying event for men's and women's halfpipe and slopestyle skiing.
Skiers like Devin Logan, the most dominant freeskier on the U.S. women's ski team; Gus Kenworthy, reigning Olympic Slopestyle silver medalist and LGBTQ advocate; and Kelly Sildaru, who at 13 was the youngest Winter X Games gold medalist, will compete for the chance to represent the United States in South Korea, February 9-25, 2018.
Slopestyle skier Maggie Voisin also has her sights set on the 2018 Olympics where she'll be a seasoned vet at the age of 19.
The last time the Dew Tour served as an Olympic qualifier was in 2014. For a skier to qualify for the Olympic team, he or she must first be registered with FIS by their National Ski Association and be born before January 1, 2002 (15 years old), and must satisfy a litany of medical requirements. Oh, and you have to be the goddamn best at what you do, tallying up enough points from multiple wins at qualifying events like the Dew Tour.
Looking even further ahead to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China, a high-speed rail line is currently under construction to help reduce travel times between skiing events which will be held far from the city because of a lack of snow. Average snow depths of 5 centimeters in Yanqing (alpine skiing center) and 21 centimeters at Zhangjiakou (Nordic disciplines, freestyle skiing and snowboarding) indicate heavy artificial snow-making will be required. The Chinese stated in their bid, which was awarded in July 2015 over Almaty, Kazakhstan, "snowmaking during the Games will not have any negative effect on the local ecosystem." Chinese officials are cracking down on smog to ensure cleaner air come 2022. They've even gone so far as to ban the use of BBQ grills.